ERIC Number: EJ1059282
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 16
When an Aide Really becomes an Aid: Providing Professional Development for Special Education Paraprofessionals
Stockall, Nancy S.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v46 n6 p197-205 Jul-Aug 2014
Knowing that paraprofessionals can be prepared to work effectively with students is an important finding, yet, how do teachers prepare paraprofessionals to work most effectively with students with disabilities? Teachers who supervise paraprofessionals must use basic communication skills, which is the first step in both the preparation of and the work with paraprofessionals. Effective communication is necessary for understanding roles and assignments, coordinating approaches to students, and building a positive relationship with paraprofessionals. Supervising teachers must establish rapport with the paraprofessional, which means sharing a common understanding and commitment to working together. Knowing how to communicate effectively is the cornerstone to working with any colleague. With effective communication skills in place, teachers can address the basic purpose of collaborating with paraprofessionals: protecting teachers' instructional time. A direct instruction training model (DITM) as presented in this article, can promote independence and confidence while gradually releasing responsibility to the learner. In addition the model reflects best practices in special education and is itself a strong example of effective teaching with adults and students. To assist in the most efficient outcomes for employing paraprofessionals, school district administrators have an obligation to educate and maximize the potential of these professionals through ongoing professional development.
Descriptors: Professional Development, Special Education, Paraprofessional School Personnel, Disabilities, Communication Skills, Communication Strategies, Training Methods, Training Objectives, Coaching (Performance), Direct Instruction, Observation, Feedback (Response), Educational Practices, Demonstrations (Educational), Teacher Aides
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